It's such an ugly word.
It even begins with "D I V", the same letters "Divide" does.
Yet it's so incredibly common today in our society.
I never wanted to be divorced. I never wanted to become a "statistic" in that category. I didn't want to be a "divorced mom" or even worse a "single mom". "Divorced mom" at least sounds responsible, but "single mom" as is so commonly used today sounds free-wheeling and celebrated even if it may be far from reality.
So often society acts like divorce is okay, kids are resilient and everything will turn out alright despite some bumpy beginnings of adjustment. But it's not true. Kids lives are shattered by divorce. Kids thrive on consistency, routine and familiarity. When those concepts are overthrown they feel discombobulated and their trust is broken. Kids are sharp, they need to be given adequate credit and acknowledgment that they are capable of accurately reading situations, people and character. Being excellent observers, kids know deep down by careful studying of their parents who has true motives, whom they can trust and the reason for the dissolution of their parents marriage hence their family.
In the case of infidelity children know one parent's selfish actions caused the dissolution of their family unit. Kids feel the abandonment of the parent who stepped outside the family to pursue their own agenda, thus causing them to cling to the parent who remains stable and there for them. As the transition of divorce begins they see that their parents each get a fresh start to build new lives.
But where is their fresh start?
They don't get one. They get stuck. For a very long time living at two homes, with two separate parents. How is this right? Their fresh start begins when they leave both nests and fly away on their own.
We are in an epidemic of "I want to be happy" in this country. That concept is a little more accepted when you are a free-wheeling single person. You have plenty of time after 8-5 work hours to celebrate all the things that "make you happy" as long as you are living by the word of God. But once you get married you make a covenant before God with another person to put them and their needs above you. Forever. In sickness and in health. Till death do you part. When you have children this promise is further deepened and you do everything you can to sacrifice for your children's best interests.
But when someone begins thinking along the lines of "I can't be happy in this marriage, I would be a better parent if we were divorced." it's the Devil. The devil is full of whispers, lies and empty promises. He wants to entice you, create self-doubt, ignite justification, and make you think that things of the flesh will make you happy.... new clothes, a fancy car, expensive meals, first class flights, sex with someone else, the list goes on. But it's all false advertisement. There are consequences to these choices in the name of "happiness" one has pursued. In the end no one really wins. And least of all the children.
Someone today who has convinced themselves that in order to parent sucuessfully and "be happy" really needs to be mentally evaluated. Their thoughts are misguided and not right. God knows this. They have made their poor decisions already based on "their happiness" (selfish). Not based on holiness, hence for the good of their children. So how are they truly capable of being good parents? What is continually told to parents today by the court system is this:
"Your children aren't divorcing. You and your spouse are. So your spouse should automatically get 50/50 custody."
What the courts fail to realize is the parent who did drugs or drank too much, the parent who cheated, the parent who was abusive in their marriage… those choices affected their children, not just their spouse. Those choices BROKE UP A FAMILY. The toxic one hasn't been looking out for their children's best interests. So then why are they automatically given custody? It's some form of insanity. Instead, the best course of action in society today would be mandatory counseling for anyone who has stepped outside their marriage, outside their family and caused any threat to their children's security and family foundation. In the interim primary custody should automatically go to the healthier parent.
But that is not how our world works unfortunately.
There is free will, and nothing set in stone that forces anyone to deal with their issues in a pro-active manner versus just opting out.
So what can you do if a divorce is inevitable?
If there is zero chance of a marriage being salvaged?
Stop your destructive behaviors.
Put your children first.
10 Tips For Children and Divorce:
1. Ask them how they feel. They have feelings. They have thoughts about how their life is changing. Assure them that they are loved. Think of conversations with them regarding the divorce as ongoing… there is no neat package of a talk and then shoving it under the rug, done. Divorce will affect them the rest of their life.
2. Listen. Just sit with them. Listen to how they feel. Admit you may not always have all the answers or even be able to give them the information they want but that you will always listen.
3. Validate their feelings. This is so incredibly important. Kids need to know that their feelings count. That they are important. Assure them they have every right to feel sad, disappointed, jipped and angry. Acknowledge that anger is usually a secondary emotion, that it usually follows hurt.
4. Stay neutral. Don't talk bad about your spouse. Don't color their view of them. Don't make them pick sides. More than likely, they already know the facts. They typically know which parent is more equipped to care for them; who they feel safer with and loved by more… they can discern that their parent is morally inept and not putting them first; cheating and breaking up the family, etc. They may know if you've been fighting or if this was out of the blue and unexpected. Reassure them the divorce is not their fault. Kids don't need to hear the negative. Right now more than anything they need positivity and comfort.
5. Hug them. Sometimes nothing is more reassuring than a hug. It helps begin to heal all wounds. Along with that buy them a special lovey for this time if they don't already have one. They need that extra comfort and no one is ever too old for comfort. This is not the time to tell them to "act like a big kid." etc. Act like the adult and acknowledge your children's need for some extra comfort.
6. Pray. Pray together with your children for the family. Pray for your spouse. Acknowledge that God is looking out for you and will bring you through any darkness to light once again. This is a time when children's trust and faith have been hurt. Turning to God during this time will show them that no matter how difficult life may be we can always count on God!
7. Give them hope. Hope that things will get better even if it's in tiny steps. That there will be fun. Come up with some concrete ideas on new traditions to start, new things to look forward to and get excited about making a new plan. Kids will appreciate it more than you know.
8. Tell them you love them. Seems like a no-brainer but in the midst of so much to do and when emotions may be high, those three little words have huge power and affirmation for them. Let them know that you both love them and will always be there for them no matter what.
9. Discuss any parenting issues privately and away from the children so they don't overhear. Use a online communication tool like Talking Parents which is free or My Family Wizard. It is more important than ever to present a united and positive front to your children. It will make them feel more secure in a very insecure time.
10. Divorce is never easy. Take it one day at a time. When in doubt as to how to handle a situation or a conversation just take pause. Pause and reflect before answering. Everything won't be perfect or seamless.
There will be challenging moments but in that you can know that God is there to guide you. He loves you and your children. He is there to help you make the best decisions for your family. And after you have given all you have to your children, when you find yourself depleted at the end of the day needing some comfort yourself, He is there for you too.
His love never fails.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2012
“Upset Boy With Pictures Of Parents” by David Castillo Dominici via FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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